Richard Lee Zuras

Rogue Soprano



He trolleys in lamenting his book-bag—shakes,

drops the innumerable pictographs, splays

them, conking the floor like paralytic weights,

as if our Maine bungalow were 

his own private—“Mr. Sipe keeps telling our whole grade

‘There’s a rogue soprano hiding out in the altos.’”

He smiles—


There is a certain hokiness when my son imitates

his teachers—an affection not lost on either party.

He is vamping now . . . .


A tuft of auburn hair will not find

agency (his head blossoming, rooting, inside and out).

I coil the curl with my fingertips. He is just now

13. He no longer woos me.


His impertinence startles him


and I stow his brief attentiveness like a

Krugerrand, fatuously, into my pocket.

Soon his voice, too, will be hijacked by the gods

and devils of arduous hormones. For now,

a wanton partition.


Richard Lee Zuras was born and raised in Virginia, and earned his BA at George Mason University. He earned his MFA as the McNeese Fellow under the auspices of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, before doing Ph.D. work in North Dakota under the late poet Jay Meek. His work has been published in South Dakota Review, Weber Studies, Passages North, Confrontation, Red Rock Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Big Muddy, Xavier Review, Story Quarterly, Confrontation, Laurel Review, Lake Effect, Jabberwock Review, and elsewhere. He has held scholarships at Bread Loaf and Wesleyan University, and has garnered a Yemassee Award. Currently, Richard is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where he lives with his wife, two sons, and a red Siberian Husky.



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